Saturday, October 4, 2014

And Death Will Seize the Doctor Too

Product DetailsChristian Thompson has the power to heal with a touch of his hand. But the only thing more remarkable than this talent is the fact that he has no idea he has it. And, like many who have yet to discover their true purpose in life, he slogs through his days in a muted haze, feeling as if he's a ghost in his own life, often describing the way he feels as like having amnesia, but without the forgetting. Though intelligent, he can't find work. Though loving, he can't find love or companionship. Though desperate and trying desperately,  he simply cannot find a way out of the prison inside himself he's been trapped in most of his life.

As time passes, those dark feelings grow in power. Unwelcome and insistent thoughts of suicide begin to plague him; he's terrified to find himself stockpiling sleeping pills and razor blades and doing other frightening things. He fears he is close to doing something very foolish when, one day, he is approached by a man who promises an answer that will lift the weight he has been carrying for so long. But, the man explains, he cannot simply tell him the answer.  That is against the rules. All he can do is guide Christian, and only if he'll let him. Christian accepts the offer and it isn't long before he discovers not only his talent, but perhaps also the reason he has kept it hidden from himself for so long. You see, Christian Thompson has the power to heal with the touch of his hands, but for every person he cures he must first kill someone else.

Now as he wrestles with not only having such a power but whether or not to use it, he faces the ultimate test and discovers he may not have any real choice. The road this battle leads him down will change not only his life, but perhaps the entire world forever.

*May Contain Spoilers*

Jeremiah Swanson gives Christian Thompson the power to heal in his novel, And Death Will Seize the Doctor Too, but only if he's willing to kill for it first. That murderous twist was what initially caught my attention and pulled me toward the novel. Swanson delves into the deepest moral darkness of the human psyche and probes for boundaries. 

Christian Thompson is the main character of the novel. Though, various chapters shift the focus on to other key characters with a different time and place setting. Christian is hard to get a handle on. He's loyal and kind, presented clearly in scenes with his comatose wife, but he's also harsh, greedy, and selfish. The book is told in parts and thus, tells the story in a fragmented time frame. The setting changes rapidly and it's up to the reader to keep it straight, for the most part. 

In the time before Christian knew of his gift/curse, he was depressed, hopeless, lonely, and isolated. After discovery, he became terrified yet intrigued by what he could do. In the present tense of the book, Christian is trying to save his wife's life as well as his own while attempting to atone for killing an innocent bystander. Readers will enjoy the story line of the novel, but connecting with Christian will be different for everyone. His loyalty and love for his wife may draw in readers or his desire to help the sick and dying, or even both. Though the negative characteristics that make him realistic will work against the bond created with the reader. 

As previously mentioned, the setting jumps around quite often. In the present, Christian is trying to save his wife. To do that, he must obey those threatening him by killing without question to save a certain people. In the past, Swanson shares how Christian came to be in this situation through the discovery of his talent, his testing, training, and the beginning of his work. There are also sub-plots that weave in and out of Christian's story introducing key characters who come together in the end. Intriguing and innovative, Swanson's creativity shines in his prose and careful planning. However, there were a few times when I was confused by the relevance and the presentation of certain situations. Readers who enjoy science fiction and thrillers will certainly take pleasure in this novel. 

Rating: 3/5 Cups

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